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Stem cell therapy for paralysis
By Carmen Loren
Kristopher Boesen of California (USA) has regained the use of his arms and hands after an experimental stem cell treatment. He had been involved in a car crash that left him paralyzed from the neck down, and he was told that there was no possibility of recovering the mobility of his body for the rest of his life. With nothing to lose, he agreed to take part in a groundbreaking trial involving stem cells. Professor Charles Liu, of the University of Southern California injected 10 million stem cells directly into Kristopher’s cervical spinal cord. It was hoped that these embryonic cells would turn into the type of nerve tissue that is found in the brain and spinal cord. If they did, then perhaps the patient would experience an improvement in their motor function, or even a partial recovery.
After only three weeks of treatment Kristopher started to show signs of improvement, and two months later he was able to answer his mobile phone, write his name, hug his friends and family and even drive a wheelchair. Professor Liu feels that this new procedure using stem cells is very promising. His study showed that it is possible to improve neurological function, which could significantly improve the lives of patients with severe spinal injuries.